History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The outer 3 defensive rings are of earth, and appear unfinished. Between the inner and outer defenses are evidence of hut platforms, indicating that there was a time lapse between construction of the inner rings and the outer earthworks. These structures were probably timber round houses, and may have been built around 1200 BCE.
In the cente of the hillfort are the ruins of a medieval stone tower, built partly with stones from the vtrified fort. The ground floor is ill lit, and was proobably used for storage. The first floor was much grander, as evidenced by a finely crafted surviving window. We are not sure who built the castle, but it was probably in existance before 1260, which would make it one of the earliest castles in Scotland. Similar towers can be found at Balvenie and Coull. Beside the stone tower is a depression which is thought to be a cistern.
There is another ancient fort on Christ's Kirk Hill, opposite Dunnideer Hill, and similar forts at Durn Hill (Portsoy), and Little Conval, near Dufftown.
Taken as a whole, the Dunnideer site is quite impressive, though no one part of the defenses is overwhelming in itself. The climb to the castle ruins on the summit is well worth it, though, as the panormaic view is superb. From the parking area at the bae of the hill to the summit is a climb of no more than 10 minutes.
The site is not well signposted. The best way to reach Dunnideer is to follow the minor road from the centre of Insch signposted to Dunnydeer (note the difference in spelling). There is a small parking area on the left of the road shortly after leaving the village. In truth the hill is easily visible from almost anywhere in the area, so you're not likely to miss it!
About Dunnideer Castle
Address: Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: Signposted path from the minor road between Insch and Clashindarroch Forest, off the B992 1 mile west of Insch.
Website: Dunnideer Castle
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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